Nutritional status assessment during Alzheimer's disease: results after one year (the REAL French Study Group)

O Guerin, M E Soto, P Brocker, P H Robert, M Benoit, B Vellas et al.
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2005, 9 (2): 81-4

OBJECTIVES: Weight loss and malnutrition are frequent and serious complications of Alzheimer's disease. The aim of the present article was to describe the cognitive and behavioural characteristics of the test population within the frame of the PHRC REAL.FR cohort (for Réseau sur la Maladie d'Alzheimer Français), depending on their nutritional state, and to consider their evolution one year after the original inclusion.

METHOD: The study population' stratification was done in three groups according to their Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) score: malnutrition group (MNA < 17.5), at risk of malnutrition group (MNA 17.5-23.5), and normal nutritional status group (MNA > or = 23.5). 561 patients were evaluated at inclusion time, 393 at one year. The evaluation included the following scales: Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Activities Daily Living (ADL), Instrumental Activities Daily Living (IADL), Neuro Psychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Zarit scale (ZARIT). Comparison and descriptive analysis for each MNA group at baseline and at one year has been performed.

RESULTS: at baseline, the well-nourished and the malnutrition risk groups are significantly different concerning age, IADL and NPI; the well-nourished and undernutrition groups are different concerning MMSE, NPI and Zarit; the malnutrition risk and undernutrition groups are only different concerning NPI. At one year, the well-nourished and the malnutrition risk and undernutrition groups are different concerning one lonely variable, the NPI, in a significant way. The comparison of the three groups between baseline and one-year evaluation demonstrate for the well-nourished group an aggravation of MMSE, ADL, IADL, NPI, for the malnutrition risk group of MMSE and IADL, and for the undernutrition group of MMSE, IADL and NPI.

CONCLUSION: Among the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, the most malnutritioned worsen highly on cognitive and functional capacities. Furthermore, the nutritional aggravation seems strongly linked to behavioural disorders aggravation. The improvement of those disorders has therefore to be part of every improvement strategy applied to the nutritional status of the demented patients.

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